Welcome to the new front line
A military officer in command of a drone operation to capture terrorists in Kenya sees her mission escalate from “capture” to “kill” just as a nine-year old girl enters the kill zone.
ActorsStarring: Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Alan Rickman, Iain Glen, Barkhad Abdi, Phoebe Fox, Kim Engelbrecht, Jeremy Northam, Meganne Young, Carl Beukes, Monica Dolan, James Alexander, Armand Aucamp, Babou Ceesay, Francis Chouler, Kenneth Fok, Daniel Fox, Olga Gainullina, John Heffernan, Graham Hopkins, Jessica Jones, Tyrone Keogh, Lex King, Kate Liquorish, Richard McCabe, Zak Rowlands, Julian Stone, Luke Tyler, Aisha Takow, Ebby Weyime, Mondé Sibisi, Gavin Hood, Michael O'Keefe
It’s been a while since I went to see this film but I’m still thinking about it.
A modern morality tale, I was initially drawn to the spectacle of awesome technology. Wow, a drone in an artificial flying beetle that could spy in the most inhospitable places, all controlled by a smartphone with an attached joystick. My inner geek started dancing!
However, this intense and thoughtful film quickly shifted the focus to the ethics of modern drone warfare with the attendant impossible questions. The ability to kill people from a cosy office complete with tea and biscuits was fully explored with cowardly politicians desperate to climb aboard the McPasstheBuckyface.
Excellent performances from Helen Mirren as the hard bitten colonel in charge of the operation to capture a group of terrorists in Nairobi and the late Alan Rickman as lieutenant general leading the deliberations in a cosy government office in London.
Call me cynical but I was slightly unconvinced by the emotion of the drone ‘pilot’ (Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul). Was this a device to make the Americans appear more sympathetic? I also felt there was an attempt at manipulation when the little girl at the centre of the story was shown to belong to a family that was more ‘western’ than her peers. I felt uncomfortable and insulted. Can we really only feel sympathy if the victim is more like us?
Overall a brilliant, thought-provoking film that worked in the ‘action-adventure’ genre, nail-bitingly tense but also a haunting examination of modern warfare.